This week I'm picking a favorite proverb from Proverbs 22-24. Please read these chapters because I will not touch most of the proverbs in them.
"The rich rule over the poor,
and the borrower is servant to the lender." Proverbs 22:7
When you owe money you work for another. Think about it. If you make $10 and have a car payment of $200 a month you actually worked 20 hours for your lender. The more debt you have the more you are a servant to another. This doesn't mean that we should never take out loans, but this means that we are to be careful about debt and we should work hard to get out of debt.
Currently my wife and I are working to get out of debt. We have a plan in place to pay off my car loan, my students and her student loans in around a year's time. We've already payed off my car loan and the students loans will come quickly. Does this mean we have to spend differently than we might like to? Absolutely. But we're doing this so that the money we earn will go to us and not to our lenders. We want to not be ruled over by the rich lenders. You can do this, too, but it will take work.
"Do not let your heart envy sinners,
but always be zealous for the fear of the LORD.
There is surely a future hope for you,
and your hope will not be cut off." Proverbs 23:17-18
Ever feel like non-Christians have all the fun? Feel like places like Sin City seem fun but that God is keeping you from the fun? I'll admit that I have felt that way, but remember to be zealous for obeying God not simply gratifying yourself. The pleasure of sin will pass and only the penalty will remain. Those who fear the LORD have a future hope that will last forever. There are plenty of great pleasures that are in the will of God and those outside the will of God aren't worth it. Spend your energy enjoying God's ways and you'll be rewarded richly.
"Do not gloat when your enemy falls;
when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice,
or the LORD will see and disapprove
and turn His wrath away from him." Proverbs 24:17-18
I was at a Christian concert the night that Suddam Hussein was hanged. People saw the news on their phones and passed it along; and people cheered. Something didn't feel right about that. And these verses are why.
Christians are to hunger for justice but we are not to gloat over our enemy's misery. We aren't to be glad that ISIS members are killed (this is so hard for me), but we are to pray that the murders are brought to justice while not being glad when they are killed. For instance, football player Ray Rice abused his wife, but we aren't to cheer that he lost his job. This doesn't mean that Rice shouldn't have lost his job... he deserved his punishment. What it does mean is that we Christians shouldn't cheer about this, rather we should pray that God uses this punishment to perfect him and to protect his wife.
Christians we are not to be jealous of those sinning and seemly having a blast. We aren't to be ear deep in debt. We aren't to gloat when our enemies fall. Rather, we need to work hard to be debt free, we need to pray for our enemies and be zealous for the fear of the LORD today.